Joseph-Siffred Duplessis (September 22, 1725 – April 1, 1802) is a French painter of the second half of the eighteenth century. He paints in particular a majestic and imposing portrait of Louis XVI in coronation costume that will be repeatedly duplicated, as well as a bust of Benjamin Franklin reproduced on the American ticket of 100 dollars.
He was born in Carpentras, Comtat Venaissin, September 22, 1725. He is the eldest of a surgeon (also a painter), Joseph-Guillaume Duplessis, who has ten children. He received his first lessons from his father and then formed with the Carthusian Joseph Gabriel Imbert at the Chartreuse of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
In 1744, Duplessis entered the studio of Pierre Subleyras in Rome. During his Roman stay, he meets Claude Joseph Vernet with whom he remains connected. He returned to Carpentras around 1748. He responded to orders from the local aristocracy and in all likelihood collaborated with Alexis Peyrotte in the decor of the hotel-Dieu pharmacy under construction. In 1751, he settled in Lyon before finally settling in Paris in 1752.
From 1764, he exhibited at the Academy of Saint-Luc. He shows in particular the portrait of the Abbe François Arnaud (1721-1784), native of Aubignan, near Carpentras. This portrait of a member of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-lettres, a lively and reputed spirit, contributes to the notoriety of the painter. He was admitted to the prestigious Academy of Painting in 1769 and received at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture on 6 August 1774 with the portraits of the sculptor Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain and the painter Joseph-Marie Vien of the Louvre). A talented portraitist, his works are characterized by a touch full of vigor. His portraits, of a very great resemblance, have the particularity of also giving a kind and expressive image of his models.
It is with the portraits in bust and foot of King Louis XVI that the consecration comes, the artist is at the height of his career. He performed the portraits of the King’s entourage (the Comte de Provence, future Louis XVIII, Marie-Amélie de Bourbon-Siciles, Duchess of Chartres), the aristocracy (Marie-Louise of Savoy-Carignan, Princess of Lamballe, The Count of Angiviller) and famous characters like Gluck or Benjamin Franklin.
Since 1928, Duplessis’s engraving of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin has adorned the US $ 100 notes.
The French Revolution puts an end to his career as a painter. He returned in 1793 to his hometown where he participated in the inventory of works of art in the district of Carpentras. He was appointed curator of the galleries of the Château de Versailles in 1796. He died at Versailles on 1 April 1802.
Portrait of Charles Claude de la Billarderie (1730-1809), Count of Angiviller, circa 1779, oil on canvas, 144 × 106 cm, National Museum of Versailles and Trianon castles.
Self-portrait, 1801, oil on canvas, 58 × 49 cm, National Museum of the castles of Versailles and Trianon
Official portrait of the King of France and Navarre, Louis XVI (1754-1793), in the sacre habit, 1777
Portrait of Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain, 1774
Jacques Necker (1732-1804), National Museum of the Châteaux of Versailles and Trianon
Portrait of Joseph-Marie Vien
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1785, oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, about 1780
Portrait of Christoph Willibald von Gluck, Vienna Museum of Fine Arts (Austria)
Mr. de Buissy (circa 1780), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Self-portrait, 1780, oil on canvas, Museum Comtadin-Duplessis, Carpentras
Portrait of the Abbe François Arnaud, before 1764, oil on canvas, Musée Comtadin-Duplessis, Carpentras
Portrait of Gabriel d’Olivier Durouret, 1774, oil on canvas, Museum Comtadin-Duplessis, Carpentras
Portrait of the Marquise de Saint-Paulet, oil on canvas, Musée Comtadin-Duplessis, Carpentras
Portrait of Joseph Péru, 1793, oil on canvas, Museum Comtadin-Duplessis, Carpentras
Portrait of Joseph Péru (study), oil on canvas, Musée Calvet, Avignon
Portrait of Monsieur de Cavet, oil on canvas, Musée Sobirats, Carpentras
Portrait of Madame de Cavet, oil on canvas, Musée Sobirats, Carpentras
The Invention of the Holy Cross by Saint Helena, oil on canvas, Cathedral of Saint-Siffrein, Carpentras
Pentecost, oil on canvas, Saint-Siffrein Cathedral, Carpentras